By Sue Dixon
Unique Muskoka magazine will be publishing its next issue in July. While Unique Muskoka has been publishing this magazine since 2016, this next issue will have Meghan Taylor at the helm. This will be the second issue published with Taylor as publisher.
Magazines, reading, stories and all things Muskoka and publishing are in Taylor’s DNA. Taylor’s first experience in the business started as a little girl with a paper route.
Her father, Don Smith, published Muskoka Magazine for many years. Taylor says her father’s home office immersed her in the business from a very young age. When Muskoka Magazine ceased publishing Don had many people tell him they missed it tremendously. From there, Unique Muskoka magazine was born. A natural fit for a voracious reader, Taylor has been writing feature articles since 2016.
“This gave me the opportunity to flex my creative writing muscle,” she says.
Taylor then took on the role of editor last year. This allowed her to ensure a complementary writing style throughout the publication. Taylor says her role as Editor provided her with the opportunity to coordinate the editorial content, which included writing captions for photos, assigning writing assignments to other contributors and the assurance of valid content and proofreading, just to name a few.
When asked what it’s like to be publisher for Unique Muskoka magazine, a magazine with a distribution that varies around 14,000 and can be found in 400 locations around Muskoka, the word Taylor used was “exciting!”
She continued, “people read and love this magazine and that’s exciting to be continuing on a tradition of 50 years that my dad started. When you get the magazine back from the printer it’s exciting to have the physical result in your hand”.
Taylor shared some of the “uniqueness” behind the magazine.
The magazine is extremely diverse in many ways; much of the content is timeless, differing significantly than other print publications. There is truly something for everyone to read about and learn; a broad range of subject matter from the arts, the environment, sports and the outdoors. There is diversity in its circulation; it is truly Muskoka-wide, not focused on one area only. Taylor says there was talk about print going by the wayside, then the pandemic happened and people were forced in front of computer screens working from home. Post-pandemic people realized that enjoying a magazine by the dock was something they treasured.
Taylor says another unique aspect of Unique Muskoka magazine is that many people who read the articles find out they are passionate about things they weren’t aware of.
From a little girl with a paper route not so long ago, enter Meghan Taylor, publisher. Taylor moving into the publisher role is truly preserving and moving Unique Muskoka magazine into the future, a legacy her father Don Smith created. When asked what that dynamic is with her father now Taylor says, “Dad offers suggestions and his support when asked but states; ‘it’s all your decision.”
Don Smith is Taylor’s father but he’s also her mentor.
“He always has been a mentor my whole life, from helping me choose my university to providing life advice. It’s nice to continue this tradition and to continue that dynamic of our relationship.”
When she’s not publishing Unique Muskoka magazine, Taylor is the Director of ReStore Operations at Habitat for Humanity in Bracebridge.
“My work at Habitat is something I enjoy; I feel good about the work I do.”
Her plate is pretty full, but when asked how she manages so much responsibility she says, “I have a great support system starting with my husband, and family and friends.”
She spends time with her two horses and recharges there.
“A challenging ride helps to clear my head. There I focus my energy differently.”
Horses provide perspective on what can be controlled or not controlled, she says. A plastic bag blowing in the wind as something that might spook a horse but the rider can’t control this so we focus on what we can control, she added.
Taylor shared another secret about how she takes time for herself, not surprisingly every Saturday morning over a few cups of coffee she spends uninterrupted time – reading.
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